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Derinkuyu underground cities of Cappadocia

Underground Cities of Cappadocia

Derinkuyu Underground City

Derinkuyu underground city is one of the main tourist attraction of Cappadocia. Derinkuyu means deep well, It is indeed the deepest and one of the largest underground city of Cappadocia region. It is 35 kilometers away from Goreme Open Air Museum and the National Park. There are over 30 underground cities in Cappadocia but Derinkuyu is the most visited one with Kaymakli and Ozkonak underground cites.

History of Derinkuyu Underground City

The exact construction date of this amazing human made underground city and cave networks are not known. Nevertheless, archaeologist states that use of Derinkuyu underground city goes back to the Hittites 1900-1200 BC during the bronze age. First of all, early Christians took the advantages of using them, not only to hide from enemies but also to keep their stocks safe and store their food  in fresh. Secondly, Turkish villagers hide in these places during the devastating Mongol’s invasion in 13 century and also during the First World War in 1914 to 1918. Consequently, in the course of time and history people used the underground city for the same purpose, to protect their life and food from invaders and enemies.

Function and Use of Derinkuyu Underground City

The entire underground city was carved in to the soft volcanic material, called ignimbrite. Ignimbrite is a pumice-dominated pyroclastic flow deposit formed from the cooling of pyroclastic material ejected from an explosive volcanic eruption. This material is quite soft and it is easy to chisel. Over the centuries people dug down eight stories, approximately eighty meter below the surface until they reach the underground water. They also extended  the underground city couple of kilometers wide to accommodate up to thirty thousand people at the same time.

Each story or level of the underground city has a different function and huge air ventilation shaft is centering them to circulate the fresh air. The first story from surface was used as stable, so animals can easily come in and go out without getting further contact with other levels. The second story was used as kitchen so smoke can easily funnel out of the underground city and missionary school. The third level was used as depots to store grain and food. The forth level was used as wineries and wine fermentation. The fifth to seven stories were used as living quarters and finally the eight story was used as a church for worship.

The temperature inside of the underground city is 15 degrees Celsius all year around. This is a perfect temperature for wine fermentation and storing grain for several years. The main tunnels of underground city that take people in and out, have many large rolling stone doors to block accesses against attackers and unwanted visitors.

Visiting Derinkuyu Underground City

Derinkuyu underground city is a museum, open every day and all year. When you visit the underground city, you may feel warm in winter, nevertheless you may feel cool in summer time. You may need a small flash light and you really need to be careful not to hit your head low ceilings as you walking through narrow tunnels. You may feel nervous, if you have a claustrophobia.

Kaymakli Underground City

Kaymakli underground city is one of the main tourist attraction of Cappadocia. It is 25 kilometers away from Goreme National Park and located in Kaymakli town. Kaymakli means milk cream and it is  quite famous in this town. They boil milk and collect cream from top to dry. It is great when you eat with honey at breakfast. Kaymakli underground city is well known and one of the most visited with Derinkuyu and Ozkonak underground cites.

History of Kaymakli Underground City

The exact construction date of this amazing human made underground city and cave networks are not known. Nevertheless, archeologist states that use of Kaymakli underground city goes back to the Hittites 1900-1200 BC during the bronze age. First of all, early Christians took the advantages of using them, not only to hide from enemies but also to keep their stocks safe and store their food  in fresh. Secondly, Turkish villagers hide in these places during the devastating Mongol’s invasion in 13 century and also during the First World War in 1914 to 1918. Consequently, in the course of time and history people used the underground city for the same purpose, to protect their life and food from invaders and enemies.

Function and Use of Kaymakli Underground City

The entire underground city was carved in to the soft volcanic material, called ignimbrite. Ignimbrite is a pumice-dominated pyroclastic flow deposit formed from the cooling of pyroclastic material ejected from an explosive volcanic eruption. This material is quite soft and it is easy to chisel. Over the centuries people dug down eight stories, approximately eighty meter below the surface until they reach the underground water. They also extended  the underground city couple of kilometers wide to accommodate up to thirty thousand people at the same time.

Each story or level of the underground city has a different function and huge air ventilation shaft is centering them to circulate the fresh air. The first story from surface was used as stable, so animals can easily come in and go out without getting further contact with other levels. The second story was used as kitchen so smoke can easily funnel out of the underground city and Christian chapel. The third level was used as depots to store grain and food. The forth level was used as wineries and wine fermentation. The fifth to eight stories were used as living quarters.

The temperature inside of the underground city is 15 degrees Celsius all year around. This is a perfect temperature for wine fermentation and storing grain for several years. The main tunnels of underground city that take people in and out, have many large rolling stone doors to block accesses against attackers and unwanted visitors.

Visiting Kaymakli Underground City

Kaymakli underground city is a museum, open every day and all year. When you visit the underground city, you may feel warm in winter, nevertheless you may feel cool in summer time. You may need a small flash light and you really need to be careful not to hit your head low ceilings as you walking through narrow tunnels. You may feel nervous, if you have a claustrophobia.